Mum cleared of murder after stabbing paedophile to death
A mother who stabbed a convicted paedophile to death while he was on bail for abusing young boys has been cleared of murder - but found guilty of manslaughter.
Sarah Sands (32) took the law into her own hands within weeks of hearing that her neighbour, 77-year-old Michael Pleasted, had sexually touched three children.
On the evening of November 28 last year she armed herself with a knife and stabbed Pleasted eight times at his flat in Canning Town, east London.
After the "determined and sustained attack", he crawled from his living room and collapsed in his hallway, where he bled to death.
Within hours Sands handed herself into police, telling an officer: "Who houses a f****** paedophile on an estate, like, seriously? He was, like, asking for trouble."
She explained she had thought Pleasted was just a nice old man, adding: "He's f****** harmless now, ain't he?"
At the time Pleasted was on bail awaiting trial on two charges of sexual assault on two children aged under 13. The Old Bailey heard that Pleasted had a string of convictions for sexually assaulting boys between 1970 and 1991.
The serial child abuser had a total of 24 previous convictions for sexual offences and had served sentences of between nine months and six years for sex crimes.
Sands, believing Pleasted was just a nice old man, had befriended him and used to go round to his flat with home-cooked meals.
She sobbed in the witness box as she insisted that she did not mean to hurt Pleasted when she went to his flat armed with a knife after drinking a bottle of brandy.
She told jurors she had gone there to plead with him to admit his crimes and spare his young accusers from having to go to court.
But when he answered the door, he just "smirked" as he told her the boys were all liars.
The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for three days before clearing her of murder and convicting her of manslaughter by reason of loss of control.
Sentencing was adjourned and will take place in September.